Van Cleef & Arpels

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Legends of Van Cleef & Arpels

Louis & Hélène Arpels: a sense of style


In 1933, the Maison celebrated another wedding. Born in Monte Carlo to Russian parents, Hélène Ostrowska was a fashion model whose elegance and grace had made a powerful impression on Paris and New York’s society. Louis Arpels was the youngest of the Arpels brothers: an incredible salesman and socialite, he was blessed with a winning combination of good looks, a sense of humor, and impeccable taste.

After WWII, they crossed the Atlantic when the Arpels family established Van Cleef & Arpels’ New York branch. The move to America only increased Hélène Arpels’ social standing.





"After all, diamonds go with everything."

Hélène Arpels
Hélène Arpels, 1934
Louis Arpels
Louis Arpels

Heralded as the quintessence of French elegance, she was voted onto the world’s “10 Best-Dressed List” in 1949 and held the position for the next 10 years.

Whether strolling down 5th Avenue or the Champs-Élysées, Hélène Arpels turned heads with her dashing physique and impeccable style.

Her “costumes” – as she called them – defined simple elegance and served as a backdrop for her exquisite jewels.

Modern and feminine, she even liked to wear diamonds on her shoes:  “After all,” she said, “diamonds go with everything.”

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